5 Best Southern States to Live in Right Now

Consider These Amazing Places To Live In The Southern United States

Today, I want to dig into the best southern states to live in. Including some of the best places to live in the south.

It’s the perfect outline for anyone thinking about moving to the southern United States.

So, let’s hit the road…

Best Southern States To Live In

For a lot of good reasons, life in the south is becoming more popular. As you, and others, move about the country.

Most noteworthy, people are flocking to these 5 best southern states to live in…

  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

…to enjoy the benefits of living in the south. And later, I will share my top pick among these five.

But first, let’s touch on each one. Also, some of the best cities in these southern states that residents both new and old have fallen in love with…

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Here are a couple of things that pop up when exploring Arkansas.

First is the beautiful landscape and natural scenery. Making it a great location for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

Second is the low cost of living. Because the state routinely checks in as one of the least expensive states to live in the country.

When deciding where to move to in Arkansas. Know that outside of Little Rock, the capital.  It is a collection of mid-size cities and small towns.

There is also the northwest corner of the state. Specifically, Bentonville and Rogers.

Here, a lot of money and development have been poured into the area. Partly because of Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville.

Best Places To Live In The Southern State Of Arkansas

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However, I’m going to direct you to a couple of college towns. Home to two excellent state universities.

The perfect combination, in my opinion, of small-town, low-cost living. Coupled with the activities and cultural amenities delivered by living near these large schools.


First, we have the city of Fayetteville. Home to the University of Arkansas. Also located in the northwest corner of the state.

Furthermore, the area is attractive for outdoor lovers. Because of the Ozark Mountains, state parks, abundant green spaces, and nature trails.

In addition, the metro area offers performing arts, good restaurants, live music, and fun festivals.

Finally, several Fortune 500 companies have located their headquarters here. Bringing jobs, money, and prosperity to what would otherwise be a rural area in the south.


Second, there is Jonesboro. Where Arkansas State University is located.

The city of Jonesboro sits near Crowley’s Ridge. It is a narrow, low-lying ridge with surrounding terrain made up of farmland and rolling hills.

The city is located in the northeast corner of the state. In an area referred to as the upper delta.

You will find a family-friendly environment here. Along with convenient access to health care. Both are strong calling cards for the community.

Next, we cross the eastern border of Arkansas. Finding us in the second of five best southern states to live in…


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Tennessee state flag

This time, we have Tennessee. An excellent choice for anyone looking to relocate to the south.

It is similar in many respects to Arkansas. But a couple of things set the two states apart.

First, residents of Tennessee enjoy the benefits of living in a state that does not charge income tax. One of only a handful of states where this is true.

Second, beyond its hundreds of small towns, Tennessee offers some larger cities to choose from. Better suited for anyone choosing an urban lifestyle.

Best Places To Live In The Southern State Of Tennessee

For example, here are some of the best places to live in the south. Specifically in the state of Tennessee


Chattanooga is a great place to live. Representing a nice combination of a big city vibe with a small community feel.

Throw in the city’s healthy economy, reasonable cost of living, and access to amazing outdoor settings. And you may find Chattanooga living hard to beat.

Next, traveling northeast on Interstate 75…


You will find yourself in the city of Knoxville. Sometimes referred to as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.

So, it is perfect for you outdoor lovers. For getting out and stretching your legs in and around the mountains. And pursuing a lifestyle of healthy living.

Finally, this is a college town. Home to the state’s flagship school, the University of Tennessee. And they are crazy about their college football here. “Go Vols”!!!

Then we have…


Tennessee’s capital city of Nashville. Located in the heart of middle Tennessee.

Jobs, good schools, live music, nightlife. You name it and Nashville’s got it.

From the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and Country Music Hall of Fame, to the bars, joints, and coffee houses on nearly every corner.

Here, you can give big city urban living a try. Choosing from any one of the many nice homes and city neighborhoods.

Or, check out living in the best of Nashville’s suburbs. For a more relaxed pace. Without sacrificing easy access to the city.

Now, we are heading to the east coast. For our next three best southern states to live in…

North Carolina

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First, landing here in the state of North Carolina. What is there to like about living in the Tar Heel State?

A whole lot from my perspective.

Because this state has friendly people, reasonable living costs, good health care services, and beautiful outdoor settings to explore.

Best Places To Live In The Southern State Of North Carolina

Beyond the little mountain towns and North Carolina coastal communities, consider moving to one of these great cities in North Carolina…


First, consider moving to Asheville. Because it has rapidly developed a reputation for being one of the best places to live in the south.

The perfect spot for nearby access to outdoor recreational options. Because of its proximity to both the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.

Also, great craft breweries and restaurants populate the city. And when you aren’t hiking in the mountains, the River Arts District can satisfy your creative side.

You will also find welcoming residents here. Making singles, young professionals, families, and retirees all feel comfortable with their new southern lifestyle.

All of this makes Asheville, a not-so-small town that packs a big punch.


Next, we have the largest city in the state based on population. It is Charlotte also known as The Queen City. One of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States.

Residents here enjoy a vibrant nightlife scene, beautiful parks, and professional sports. But, it’s not all fun and games.

Because there is a solid school system for the kids. And plenty of professional job opportunities for anyone looking to advance their career.

Most notable is financial services. Because the city has become one of the largest regional banking and financial hubs in the country.


Another excellent metropolitan center within the state is Raleigh-Durham.

Raleigh is the state’s capital city. While the area is referred to as the Triangle.

It is known as a center for education and technology research. It consists of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

Dozens of high-tech businesses call the region home. Sharing the area with elite educational institutions.

Specifically, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Duke University in Durham, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Plus, the K-12 public schools are known to be quite good too.

Then, when you are ready to relax. Know there are plenty of options for dining or grabbing a craft beer after a hard day.

Next, let’s stay in the Carolinas. By crossing North Carolina’s border, heading into the state of South Carolina

South Carolina

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Where the mountains, the Atlantic Coastline, and everything in between is available for your specific Southern lifestyle desires. Of course, depending on exactly where you choose to settle down in the state.

Furthermore, South Carolina will impress you with its…

  • Relaxed pace
  • Warm southern hospitality
  • Depth of history
  • Numerous cultural activities

But where should you move to in this state…

Best Places To Live In The Southern State Of South Carolina

Let’s start with a coastal living option. Then head to a spot near the mountains.

As we consider several more of the best places to live in the south…


First of all, Charleston is the oldest city in the state.

With its Charleston Historic District. A National Historic Landmark. That boasts architecture dating back to the 18th century.

Then there are the many miles of sandy beaches. And the amazing Charleston harbor.

Take a stroll on the Battery Promenade. Then explore Waterfront Park to enjoy the view and what living in this city by the sea has to offer.


Next, heading northwest across the entire state you have the city of Greenville. Nestled in the corner of the state not far from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It is a family-friendly town with a charming feel about it. Plus parks, museums, and other attractions. Perfect for adding the right touch of flavor to your lifestyle in the south.

Finally, schools like Clemson University and Furman University are located in the vicinity. Adding a youthful element to the population.

Next, let’s head north along the Atlantic coastline…


welcome to Virginia-best southern state to livePin

Finding ourselves in the fifth of the 5 best states to live in the south. Specifically, just off the Chesapeake Bay in the east coast state of Virginia.

Where you can choose from the hustle of dense urban living. Or, the slow-paced charm offered up in the smaller towns.

Because whatever you are looking for. You can probably find it in Virginia.

Be it professional jobs, outstanding schools for your children, fun at the beach, or hikes in the mountains.

Rest assured. This state has it all.

Best Places To Live In The Southern State Of Virginia

So, let’s try out a couple of Virginia cities for size. Some of the best places to live in the south for sure…


First, we have Richmond. The state’s capital.

Various studies rank the city as the best place to live in the state. And one of the best cities to live in the country.

The city boasts a great deal of community pride. Also, residents have high satisfaction with where they live.

It is further sought after for its affordability, good job market, 4 weather season living, and growing hipster scene.

Thus, there’s a lot to like about Richmond, VA living.

Virginia Beach

Or, head to the coast. Where you will find in the southeast corner of the state, the city of Virginia Beach.

It is a vibrant coastal community with awesome beaches. And plenty of other attractions make it one of the best southern cities.

Often thought of as a resort area. With its hundreds of hotels and restaurants along the oceanfront.

Throw in the great public schools and the active job market. And living here may be the perfect work-life balance.

So, you will surely want to take a closer look at Virginia Beach living.

Okay. That wraps up today’s review of the best places to live in the south. And the states you will find those places.

But don’t go, just yet. I have the answer you have been waiting for…

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The Best Southern States To Move To: Wrap Up

Because I have a few important thoughts before I let you go…

5 Best Southern States To Live In

Now you know my votes for the best southern states to live in including some of the top southern cities to choose from in these states.

The southern states ranked in no particular order were:

  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

And, you are probably interested to know…

What Is The Best Southern State To Live In?

The best state to live in the south is Tennessee. For its combination of the low cost of living, access to the mountains, and most importantly no state income taxes.

Of course, everyone has different priorities. So, my best southern state to live in might not be yours.

Next, you may be wondering what states didn’t make today’s list of 5. And I think that’s a fair question…

The Rest Of The Southern States To Live In

According to the U.S Census Bureau, 16 states make up the south.

They consist of the 5 states we have discussed today. Plus these 11 that didn’t make the grade…

  • Alabama
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

Most noteworthy, there is nothing wrong with any of these states. They are great places to live too. They just didn’t make my top 5.

Thus, you may want to check out our other…

City and State Relocation Guides

So you can find your perfect place to live. Just in case one of today’s top 5 states in the south does not meet your needs.

Financial Resources For Moving To The South (or anywhere)

Consider these resources to save money and make your move to the south go as smoothly as possible.

First, be sure your credit score is in great shape whether you are renting or buying. Check yours for free now at Credit Karma.

Also, to land that next job in your new town. Present yourself in the best light using MyPerfectResume.

Next, pull your budget and spending together because moving to the south is expensive. For this, we use the online app from Personal Capital.

Then save money on all the essentials you buy online for your new place. The cashback app from Rakuten is great for this. I mean, why pay more if you don’t have to?

Finally, take a stake in your new community by investing in local farmland after moving.

Thanks for reading and good luck. No matter where you choose to settle down.

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

The Best Southern States To Live In Explained